Iran Nuclear News Hardliner to lead Iran’s nuclear talks

Hardliner to lead Iran’s nuclear talks

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Jul. 06 – Iran’s secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani will be replaced with a Revolutionary Guards brigadier general close to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to two influential hard-line dailies. Jomhouri Islami, once published by Ali Khamenei before he donned the mantle of the theocratic state’s spiritual leader, reported Tuesday that Rowhani was to be replaced with Ali Larijani, the Supreme Leader’s representative to the SNSC, the country’s top national security body. Iran Focus

Tehran, Jul. 06 – Iran’s secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani will be replaced with a Revolutionary Guards brigadier general close to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to two influential hard-line dailies.

Jomhouri Islami, once published by Ali Khamenei before he donned the mantle of the theocratic state’s spiritual leader, reported Tuesday that Rowhani was to be replaced with Ali Larijani, the Supreme Leader’s representative to the SNSC, the country’s top national security body.

“Despite the denials, news of the future resignation of Mr. Rowhani from the post of Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council has been confirmed by reliable sources”, Jomhouri Islami wrote. “These same sources have named Dr. Ali Larijani as the likely successor”.

The influential hard-line daily Kayhan later confirmed the report. “With the confirmation of reports that Ali Larijani will replace Hassan Rowhani as the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, it has become certain that Larijani will not be in Ahmadinejad’s cabinet”, the daily wrote in its Tuesday afternoon issue.

Larijani, one of the eight candidates who ran in the June presidential elections, headed Iran’s state-run television and radio corporation for a decade. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Minister of Revolutionary Guards and the Minister of Islamic Guidance. His older brother, Mohammad-Javad Larijani, is a top ideologue of the ultra-conservative faction and once caused an uproar outside Iran by defending the clerical regime’s right to possess nuclear weapons.

Rowhani has been leading Iran’s negotiating team over the country’s suspected nuclear weapons program against the European “big three” of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. There was speculation on Sunday that the mid-ranking cleric was stepping down from his appointed posts, but a spokesman later denied such reports. Rowhani himself was quoted by the local press Tuesday as saying that he would remain in that position “as long as Mr. Khatami’s administration continues”.

European diplomats close to the nuclear talks between Iran and the EU-3 have said privately that the negotiations might break down in autumn as a result of Iranian intransigence.

The website Baztab, run by former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezai, wrote on Tuesday, “Certain circles close to the leadership of the Supreme National Security Council are creating rumours about the resignation of Dr. Hassan Rowhani and publishing them in the media in an effort to retain him in his position”.

Iran Focus reported on Sunday that some analysts suspected that the sudden announcement of Rowhani’s resignation and the following denial reflected a heated confrontation behind the scenes as the ultra-conservative camp wrested control of the remaining levers of power from the hands of its rivals in the wake of its recent victory in the presidential elections.

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